Crime down in first three months of 2013

Cheney calls for service increase


While it might not exactly be a technical term, the word “blah” is how Cheney Police Department Cmdr. Rick Campbell describes crime in the city over the first three months of 2013.

“Which is a good thing,” Campbell adds.

According to information in the Monthly Accountability Review reports for January – March, overall activity in the 10 areas covered in the Uniform Crime Reports is down in 2013 over the same period in 2012. Total incidents reported through March were 148, compared to 169 last year, a decrease of 12.42 percent.

Most areas have shown decreases in all three months with the exception of thefts and drug offenses in February. Thefts in that month totaled 24, compared with 12 in January 2013 and 19 in February 2012, but still remain 13 incidents less so far this year than through March 2012. Drug offenses were six in February 2013, up from three in January and compared to two in February 2012, but so far total 18, just off 2012’s pace of 19.

The most significant decline is rapes, one so far compared to eight through March 2012, and motor vehicle thefts, 15 the first three months of 2012 but only three this year. Criminal alcohol offenses are down just over 54 percent, with both assaults and domestic violence reports down 27.77 percent.

One robbery has occurred in 2013, compared to four this time last year, and the city had one homicide in March.

Active investigations are holding at 8-10 per month through March 2013. Campbell said this figure has gone as high as 20 in the past, depending upon a variety of circumstances.

Calls for service have been showing a steady increase, 612 in March, but at 1,697 overall remain 6.8 percent below the same period in 2012. Reports have shown a similar trend, increasing to 102 last month, but at 286 overall, down 12 percent from a year ago.

Arrests are down 17.39 percent in 2013. Misdemeanor arrests spiked in February, accounting for 39 of the year to date total of 98 while felonies totaled 16, compared to 30 through the first three months of 2012.

“We had a rash of felonies,” Campbell said of 2012. “Everything seemed to be felony related.”

Traffic contacts are also down, with citations (41) issued running at just over 36 percent of last year’s to date totals while warnings (494) are up about 3 percent. Campbell said ideally they want to have a ratio of one citation per every three or four warnings, and would monitor the trend.

Finally, computer aided dispatch calls remain consistent, 10,439 in 2013 compared to 10,552 through March 2012, but have shown a drop in Cheney and an increase in calls for Eastern Washington University Police. Cheney calls are down 12 percent while EWU calls are up 16.9 percent, 4,291 versus 3,565 in 2012.

Campbell said the EWU numbers were “kind of freakish” but noted the balance of calls remains at 59 percent Cheney and 41 percent for the university. The Police Department has been tracking the calls since 2005 after remarks by former Police Chief Greg Lopes claiming three-quarters of the dispatch calls came from the university.

“There were no facts, it was all anecdotal,” Campbell said. “We’ve never seen it higher than 55 and it’s usually always in the mid 40s.”

John McCallum can be reached at


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